Overcoming Language and Cultural Differences in Your International Relationship
In this modern generation, finding love is not limited to the confinements of the people around you anymore. In fact, many people find the perfect someone for them online through various means of dating; applications, websites, and the likes.
When you find love, you find it regardless of the distance, space, and background of the person. It’s quite magical if you think about it. The problem is that, the language and culture of your partner could be different from what you are accustomed to.
It’s not easy to adjust to something that is foreign to you especially when your traditions and beliefs are in contrast with each other. Overcoming this problem that’s could potentially become a driving wedge between you and your lover is not impossible. Take a look at how you can take control of language and culture differences better.
Remember that Patience is a Virtue
Trying to cross language barriers will not be easy. There are times where you both will be challenged with what words to say to each other. It would seem like no other translation would fit the exact meaning you want to express. During these times, you have to extend your patience for your partner and for yourself.
Be patient with your conversations. Sometimes it takes time for them to comprehend your statements and vice versa. You also have to consider that some online translations can turn sentences into a completely different context.
This is why you shouldn’t get insulted easily with what they say. If you’re unsure about what they meant with their statement, ask them upfront. Never be afraid to clarify. Asking questions is better than jumping to false conclusions.
Likewise, your patience is important when dealing with the cultural differences between you two. What you think is okay might not be acceptable in their country. If they keep asking you if it’s okay with you, remember that they are only doing it to make sure that it truly is fine with you.
Learning is not Always Easy
The first thing you want to do to acquaint yourself with your foreign partner’s culture and language is to study their background. What are the normal things that they do in their country? What are the traditions they follow when it comes to dating? What are the norms and taboos in their hometown? You need to learn all these things to avoid starting any conflicts between you two in the future. Despite your determination, learning it all can still be a difficult process.
Think about yourself, it took you your whole life to learn all the things that you now know about your own culture. Even then you still have a lot of things to learn. Now imagine your partner trying to absorb all these things in a quick period. It sounds difficult, right?
Give you and your lover enough time to adjust to each other’s language and culture. The beginning will always be hard, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t get easier eventually. It took time for you to fall for each other, and learning is not much different.
There is Comfort in Silence
The silence in your companionship can often be misinterpreted as lack of interest but it can mean different when you’re in an interracial relationship. Sometimes it’s better to skip all the small talk and just settle in with the comforting silence that surrounds you and your partner. Embrace the lack of sound between you both and take that time to notice the little things that you tend to forget when you guys are talking.
Have you noticed how a tiny dimple appears on her upper cheek when she smiles or the way she bites her lips when she’s shy? Did you see how her eyebrows meet at the center when she sees something she didn’t like? Familiarize yourself with these little quirks and gestures that they have to understand their emotions better. As they say, if words fail you, actions will save you.
Another upside of studying their body language is that you learn more about them than what they tell you. Remember that their actions speak louder than their words. It’s easy for them to tell you something but they might feel the opposite. However, their actions will always betray them.
An Open Mind is a Smart Mind
Given the differences between you and your loved one, you would want to keep an open mind regarding your situation at all times. Girls hanging out with guys might not be a norm in your country, but it could be an everyday thing in their hometown. You can’t just assume something because you take it at face value.
You also tend learn something faster when you keep your mind open to it. The moment you decide to not accept even the very idea of it already limits your capacity of absorbing any new knowledge that you come by. It is very discouraging to have a partner that has a closed mind, and you wouldn’t want to impose this on your foreign partner, do you?
Life is about opening yourself up to the endless possibilities that’s ahead of you. Don’t miss the chance of learning something new just because you’ve settled into the ideas already instilled on your mind. Go out there and open yourself to new and better things from the culture and language of your partner.
Overthinking Ruins Everything
If there’s one thing that can easily put all your efforts to waste, it’s the act of overthinking. You get bothered with all kinds of situations that could or could not happen, instead of focusing on the here and now.
Why wait until you have to ask yourself “What if I said this” when you can ask yourself “Why not say it?” Why don’t you take the chance? Why hold back? All these things will bother you and prevent you from making sound decisions that will affect your relationship.
Not overthinking also doesn’t mean you’re out there to make impulsive choices. Give yourself enough time to think. Weigh in the things you have to think about before responding or doing anything.
Don’t think too much about what they said the last time you talked. Most often than not, overthinking the translation of the words compared to your understanding of what they said will only cause you more headaches. Ask directly and get a straightforward response.
In a long distance relationship, you and your partner do not deserve cryptic messages and gestures. Take statements from basic concepts and apply common sense in your actions.
Sometimes, there is not much difference between two cultures and it becomes easier to adapt. Be spontaneous occasionally. Go with your plans as long as it coincides with your moral values and see what happens. There’s a sense of excitement with uncertainty.
At the end of the day, compromise is still the best key to having a harmonious international long distance commitment. A relationship is a cohesive companionship between you, your partner, your personalities, languages, and culture.
Try to understand your partner so they may understand you as well in their own way. Trying to overcome language and cultural differences along with other barriers? Share with us your experience in the comments below, and while you’re at it, take a look at our other International Dating Advice Articles.